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Subject Guide: Business Industry Research

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This guide lists sources which provide an overview of specific industries and are recommended for getting started in industry research.

For further information & assistance in using any of the sources listed, please contact our reference staff:

  • In person, at the Reference Desk on the 1st Floor of the Blackwell Library


  • By phone @ 410-548-5988

  • Through e-mail, using Ask-a-Librarian


Industry Codes:

Industry codes allow researchers & government agencies to classify businesses by the type of product or service they offer.   2 well-known codes are the Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC Codes) and the North American Industry Classification Codes (NAICS Code).  NAICS has replaced the SIC System and was implemented with the 2002 Economic Census.  Once you locate your company's SIC/NAICS codes, many of the article databases and reference sources listed below can be searched by that code. 

Begin by locating the SIC or NAICS Code that identifies your industry.


Industry Profiles:

Refer to the following databases/reference titles for Industry Analysts' commentary on the performance of specific industries:

Business Source Premier

Off-campus, sign in using your Gull Card barcode and last name.  Choose SU as the campus and then click the log-in button.

For industry reports/overviews (not all industries will have these available):

  • Click on the 'Advanced Search' tab at the top of the search page.

  • Scroll down and find the dialogue box for NAICS/Industry Code.  Enter the NAICS Code for your company.

  • Look at the ways to limit searches at the bottom of the search page and find 'document type'.  Choose 'industry overview'.   

  • Click the 'search' button at the top of the screen.

Economic Census  
The Economic Census profiles American business every 5 years, from the national to the local level. 

Step I:  Find the NAICS code for your specific industry:

  • NAICS website, enter a keyword search to the left of the screen.

  • OR see the NAICS book on Ready Reference HF 1042 .N6 2002
    *ask for this title at the Research Services Desk, Blackwell Library

Step II:  Find local, state, data for your industry:

  • Economic Census

  • Use the pull-down menu to select a 'Report by State'

  • Begin selecting data by clicking on the report indicated by the first two numbers of your NAICs code. 

  • Click on the 'More' links to fully open the parts of the report you need.

  • Once on the industry report you need, look to the top right of the page.

  • You can search by county, city, or metro area.
     

Gale Business Insights: Essentials
Off-campus, sign in using your Gull Card barcode and last name.  Choose SU as the campus and then click the log-in button.

Business Insights: Essentials brings together in a single database company profiles, company brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies, and periodicals. Search this database to find detailed company and industry news and information.  Coverage is from 1980 to the present.   

If you already know the SIC/NAICs Industry Code: 

  • Click on the 'Industry' graphic from the database home page

  • Enter the SIC Code or NAICs Code or Industry Description and click on 'Search'

  • From the results list, click on specific industry overview sources. 

  • Review the tabs across the top of the screen for further information including news, investment reports, rankings, etc.

If you don't know the SIC/NAICs Industry Code: 

  • Click on the 'Company' graphic from the database home page

  • Enter a company name, that is part of the industry you want to research, choose 'ultimate parent', then click on 'Search'

  • From the results list, click on the specific company. 

  • Review the tabs across the top of the screen and click on 'Industry Overview'.

  • Choose the specific SIC/NAICs Code from the list as needed.

  • From the results list, click on specific industry overview sources.

  • Review the tabs across the top of the screen for further information including news, investment reports, rankings, etc.

Mergent Online
Off-campus, sign in using your Gull Card barcode and last name.  Choose SU as the campus and then click the log-in button.

Provides full-text coverage for 24 industry sectors.  Also includes coverage by region:  Asia-Pacific, Europe, Global, and North America.  Each report includes:  Current Environment, Industry Profile, Key Points, Key References, Market Trends & Outlook.

For industry reports/overviews:

  • Click on the link to Industry Reports.

  • Use the pull-down menu at the top of the screen to select an industry and/or region and then click on the 'Search' button to the right of the screen.

  • Locate the industry report you wish you view, and then click on 'view' or 'download' links to the right of the report.  

  • Click the 'search' button at the top of the screen.

S&P Industry Surveys
Reference HC 106.6 .S74 v. 1-3

Refer to the Company/Industry Index in the beginning of each volume.  Locate your company name (or a company similar to yours) to find the Industry Section.  Begin reviewing the 'Outlook' for your industry in the front of any of the volumes.  This will provide a snapshot of trends in the industry.  Next, go to the full profile for your industry. 

Each industry profile provides:  (1) Current Environment; (2) Industry Profile; (3) Industry Trends; (4) How the Industry Operates; (5) Key Industry Ratios and Trends; (6) How to Analyze A Company in the specific Industry; (7)  Industry References [periodicals, trade associations, & government agencies]; and (8) Comparative Company Analysis.

ValueLine Database
This database is only available in the Blackwell Library Reference Area.  Ask the reference staff to sign you on.  

  • Click on the link to 'The ValueLine Investment Survey Online - Standard Edition.
  • On the left toolbar, click on the link to 'Lookup Company'.

  • Type in your company name or ticker symbol.  (Note:  This version of ValueLine only covers 1700 stocks in 98 industries so all companies are not covered)
  • On the results list, click on the various reports that appear--note the industry your company is categorized in.
  • For an industry report, click on 'Lookup Industry' on the left tool bar.
  • Select your industry.
  • For an overview of the industry, select 'Industry Commentary'.  For all the companies listed for comparison, click on 'Industry - Company Breakdown' and then select the reports you want to view.

For further information, refer to the 'How to Use the Value Line Investment Survey Page.'

Additional Sources:

I3:  Industry Specific Information (Fuld & Company)

The Fuld & Company Internet Intelligence Index (I3) provides information for competitive intelligence research.  Scroll down the page to Industry-Specific Resources for links per industry category.

Special Issues:  Lists of Lists
"The List of Lists is a database of ranked listings of companies, people and resources freely available on the Internet. Content comes from a number of sources including: Specialissues.com, Gary Price's "ResourceShelf" and individual users of the LOL."  Provides ranking information and sometimes market share information arranged by industry description.

ValuationResources.Com:  Industry Resources Report
"Lists resources available from trade associations, industry publications, and research firms which address subjects such as industry overviews, issues, trends, outlooks, financial benchmarking, compensation surveys, and valuation resources."  Covers 230 individual industries arranged by SIC Code.  (free and fee based)


Articles/News:

Locate business media and newspaper articles for additional information about your industry using the databases listed below: 

ABI Inform (Proquest)
Off-campus, sign in using your Gull Card barcode and last name.  Choose Salisbury University as the campus and then click the log in button. 

  • Click on 'Advanced Search' at the top of the screen.
  • In the first search box, use the pull-down menu to select 'NAICS Code' and enter the NAICs Code for your company.
  • Additional search term if needed: In the second search box, use the pull-down menu to select 'Company/Org' and type the name of your organization. 

Business Source Premier
Off-campus, sign in using your Gull Card barcode and last name.  Choose SU as the campus and then click the log-in button.

For industry articles:

  • Click on the 'Advanced Search' tab at the top of the search page.

  • Scroll down and find the dialogue box for NAICS/Industry Code.  Enter the NAICS Code for your company. 

  • Click the 'search' button at the top of the screen.

  • Browse articles.

  • Enter additional search terms as needed (name of your company, or strategy, or trends, forecast, etc.)

LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe

  • From L-N's front page, click on the 'Business' category on the left tool-bar.

  • On the next screen, click on the link to 'Industry & Market'.

  • Select your industry category from the pull-down menu.

  • Enter keywords as appropriate to your search (company name, trends, etc.).
  • Choose a date range (1-2 years back is usually a good range).

National Newspapers (Proquest)
This is a collection of 8 full-text newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post among others. 

To limit your search to one of the newspapers such as the WSJ:

  • Click on the 'Advanced Search' tab at the top of the search page.

  • In the first search box, use the pull-down menu and select 'publication title' & enter Wall Street Journal.

  • In the second search box, use the pull-down menu and select 'NAICS' and enter the NAICS code for your company.

  • Enter additional terms in the remaining search boxes if/as necessary.

  • Click on the 'search' button.